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Not a fan of man-made pharmaceuticals and all the side effects? You may have recently heard a lot of buzz about CBD oil. CBD oil is quickly becoming a popular supplement for treating a surprising number of health conditions. But is this all-natural remedy safe? How do you use it? And how can you benefit from CBD oil?
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD oil, is a natural remedy used for many health conditions. CBD is one of 104 chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in the Cannabis sativa plant (also used to produce hemp and marijuana). CBD oil producers extract CBD from the resin of cannabis buds and flowers and dilute it with a carrier oil, like coconut or hemp seed.
Does CBD oil get you high? No. CBD doesn’t produce the high associated with marijuana because it doesn’t contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Psychoactive THC is the most active ingredient in marijuana.
Tip: If you’re required to take urine tests for employment or other reasons, you should be aware that using a CBD oil that has slight traces of THC could cause you to test positive for THC. In this case, you want to make sure you purchase 100% pure CBD oil.
CBD oil is currently mired in murky legal waters. There’s a lot of confusion because state and federal laws are constantly changing — and because not all CBD oils are created equal.
The consensus is that only CBD oils derived from industrially-gown hemp that contain less than 0.3% THC are legal in all 50 states. But this doesn’t mean that all CBD oils are legal. Why?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the production of CBD oils, so many manufacturers skirt these legal technicalities. Furthermore, some manufacturers are deceptive in their marketing practices, claiming their products meet these “requirements” when, in fact, they do not.
As of May 2018, 17 states have passed laws that specifically address the legality of CBD oil. State laws vary widely in what they cover. Many of these laws approve the use of CBD oils for the treatment of epilepsy in children, but the approved THC levels differ by state. Other state laws expand the health conditions covered but require the approval of a health practitioner.1
Because of all of this confusion, we recommend consulting a doctor and doing your research carefully when choosing a CBD oil. To learn what to look for, jump down to our tips on how to find high-quality (and legal) CBD oil.
Is there a difference between CBD oil and hemp oil? Most definitely, but many people confuse the two because both are extracted from cannabis plants.
CBD is an active cannabinoid compound that comes from the leaves, flowers, and sometimes stems of mature cannabis plants. It’s this compound that provides the medical and therapeutic benefits you get from CBD oil. See below for our CBD oil benefits list and descriptions.
In contrast, hemp oils are made from cannabis seeds, which contain little to no amounts of CBD (or THC). While hemp seeds don’t share the same therapeutic characteristics as CBD, hemp oils have their own unique benefits.
Hemp oils are popular nutritional supplements because they contain high levels of vitamins E, B, B1and B2. They also contain potassium, magnesium and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids — these fatty acids can help improve heart health, lower cholesterol and act as an all-natural anti-aging skin moisturizer.2
CBD and marijuana work by acting on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Every mammal has an ECS that’s responsible for regulating the body’s homeostasis, or state of balance, and helping the body adapt to environmental stressors. The ECS impacts a variety of functions, including our mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, and pain and immune response.3
Everyone’s body naturally produces endocannabinoids to maintain this balance, but sometimes our bodies can’t keep up and need a boost. That’s where CBD (and marijuana) come into play. These plant-derived cannabinoids help to supplement what our bodies may be lacking by stimulating our natural production of endocannabinoids.4
What is CBD oil used for? Thousands of published studies have shown the benefits of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, with such medical conditions as chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, high blood pressure and epilepsy. Ongoing research and word-of-mouth evidence also suggests that CBD oil has even more far-reaching benefits.3
Check with your doctor before using CBD oil to make sure it will not interfere with other treatments or cause other potential health issues.
Chronic Pain & Inflammation
Over-the-counter drugs have their limits in successfully alleviating pain and inflammation, and many prescribed pain medications are addictive. Some studies have found CBD oil to be a promising therapeutic agent in suppressing inflammation and chronic pain.5,6
Anxiety & Depression
Both anxiety and depression are most commonly treated with pharmaceutical medications, many of which have moderate to severe side effects. The good news, however, is that initial research into CBD oil indicates its effectiveness in helping those who suffer from certain anxieties and types of depression.7,8,9,10
After researching the safety and effectiveness of CBD oil for treating epilepsy, the FDA approved the use of CBD (Epidiolex) as a therapy for two rare conditions characterized by epileptic seizures in 2018.4
CBD shows promise as a future treatment for the most common form of acne, called acne vulgaris. A 2014 study11 found that the anti-inflammatory and other characteristics of CBD reduced the production of sebum, a known contributor to acne.
High Blood Pressure
Initial studies indicate that CBD may be an effective supplement to help lower and maintain blood pressure.12
Tip: Keep in mind that many scientific studies about the use of cannabinoids to treat medical conditions involve the use of CBD in conjunction with THC.
Does CBD Oil Have Side Effects?
Most people tolerate CBD oil well, which can make it a promising alternative to more traditional medications. In fact, initial studies have found that CBD generally has fewer side effects than other drugs commonly used to treat similar ailments.13 Mild side effects may include:
- Appetite changes
Tip: CBD can interact with some medications, so discuss this with your doctor before starting to use CBD oil.
Most CBD oils come in the form of a tincture. You can place a few drops under your tongue and wait 60-90 seconds to absorb before you swallow. You can also add several drops to water or smoothies.
Some companies sell sprays that you spray under your tongue. Other CBD forms include capsules, vaping liquids and creams that you apply topically.
There aren’t any set dosage standards for CBD oil because the FDA has not created a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) as it does with many other supplements and medications. Check with your doctor before you add CBD oil to your health regimen. Experts, however, recommend some general guidelines.
- Most experts agree that you should start with the smallest possible dose to minimize side effects and then gradually increase your dosage if you don’t see any difference.
- A good rule of thumb to determine a safe CBD dosage is to take 1–6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight based on the individual’s level of pain.14
- To maximize benefits, it’s a good idea to split your daily dosage in half and administer twice daily.
In clinical trials, cannabidiol doses of up to 300 mg daily have been used safely for up to 6 months. Higher doses of 1200-1500 mg daily have been used safely for up to 4 weeks. Cannabidiol sprays have been safely used in doses of 2.5 mg for up to 2 weeks.15
Check out the video below from CBS This Morning to see their balanced coverage of CBD oil.
Because of legal and safety concerns, we strongly recommend you use the following criteria when shopping for CBD oil.
- What’s the source of the CBD? Make sure the products use CBD extracted from industrially-grown hemp.
- What’s the THC level? Look for products with less than 0.3% THC.
- How is the oil processed? Safe methods include carbon dioxide and cold press extraction. Some companies use cheap methods and potentially toxic solvents, like propane, hexane and butane, to extract CBD from the plant.
- Is it organic? Organically-grown hemp is free of toxins.
- Are the oils independently tested? Look for companies that independently test their products and provide a certificate of analysis (COA). Testing can include Microbiology, Pesticide, Mycotoxin, Residual Solvent, Heavy Metals and more.
- Finally, consult with your physician.
If you don’t have the time to research CBD oils for yourself, we’ve done the homework for you! Be sure to read our best CBD oil reviews to find the safest options for your specific health concerns.
Sources:  ProCon.org;  Namaste;  Medical Marijuana Inc.;  Medical News Today;  National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI);  NCBI;  NCBI;  NCBI;  NCBI;  NCBI;  NCBI;  NCBI;  NCBI;  CBD Origin;  WebMD
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